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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Aloha all! Im seeking advice for my gelding. This is the first time I've owned a male horse, & when I was told you have to clean their sheaths........:shock:

anyway! I clean it probably once every month or two. 3 days ago he had black stuff on the inside of his hind legs (from his pee?) so I took him to the cross ties to rinse his legs & clean his sheath. This was the first time he was acting sensitive about the region, usually he's fine. I thought maybe it was from the cold water & didnt think much of it.

So today his sheath is totally swollen. I wasnt sure at first but after running around the barn & looking at all the other geldings, it is clearly obvious. So again, I take him to the cross ties & he responded with sensitivity: Ears pinned back at first, then he lifted his leg & finally did a full on kick out. I will openly admit I am very novice in these matters & I was scared of getting hurt if I continued on my own so I had to leave it at what I could. I've done some research but its a mixed bag: call the vet right away while others say play the waiting game. Please help!

:-:)-:)-(
 

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What did you use to clean him? Soap? Iodine? He may simply be irritated by whatever you used. A very mild soap like Dove or Ivory is recommended. Of course there is as caliber or something like that made for sheath cleaning also. Something like Betadine is pretty harsh and I sure wouldn't use it

There are beneficial bacteria that should be in his sheath. Most of us clean them twice a year or so unless they really tend to get dirty. I could see quarterly, but if your horse needs cleaning monthly something is wrong.
I'd call a vet.
 

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You really don't have to clean their sheaths as often as you have been... Twice a year will work unless he gets incredibly disgusting. =]
I had an elderly gelding that had a swollen sheath once. He had been having some serious health issues, and the vet felt that he was missing some nutrients in his body, and because he wasn't eating, wasn't able to replace them as needed. He was SOOO swollen. His legs would rub against his sheath every time he moved, and it made him very uncomfortable. He would just stand there looking miserable.
I had to cold hose him twice daily, and I also was giving him Bute for the pain and inflammation.
You should probably call your vet out. I understand waiting a day or two to see if it goes down, as long as our horse is not in pain and is still acting normal, and peeing normally. But if it doesn't go down you will want your vets opinion.
 

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I would get some warm water and just give him a good rinse to really make sure any and all residue from whatever you cleaned him with is gone. Take his temperature to see if there could be an infection, and call the vet to see if he wants to see him immediately or wait a few days to see if it will resolve itself. If he is having trouble dropping to urinate, I would get the vet out ASAP, though.
My guess is there is soap residue irritating him, or possibly a reaction to a bug bite (Cruiser got half his sheath swollen last summer from a reaction to a bite of some sort).
 

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I've seen two geldings get swollen after a sheath cleaning done by a vet. We just cold hosed them for a few days and it went down with no problem. You are definitely cleaning way too much, it is recommended you only clean once a year. There's studies now proving that horses don't need them cleaned as much as we think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thank you all for the responses!!!! I clean him with excalibur which is made for sheath cleaning.

Wow only clean once a year or so??? Thats good news....I really hate doing it!!!

Anyone know about what that black stuff that was stuck to his leg might be? It looked like it happens when he pees. Im going to see him soon, fingers crosses his swelling went down.
 

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Of ALL of the grooming things I have done, cleaning sheaths is, for me, the easiest. Yes, you do have to desensitize some geldings, but once you do, it shouldn't be difficult. I periodically just get my hand wet and clean the beans. I only clean about 1-2 minutes at a time, but I do it often, whenever I think of it, even though my whole family is grossed out by it.
This is the exterior of your horse so it's not super dangerous for them to be dirty there. YOUR gelding just doesn't routinely drop down very often.
Also, horses do not like to pee where it splatters, so your gelding may be avoiding this and trying to control the stream by not dropping down, so it collects in his sheath and makes a mess.
Happy cleaning! =D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You're right, the whole time I've owned him (since nov. of last year) I've never seen him drop all the way. That's not anything I should be concerned with, is it?

The swelling looks like it's gone down a little, I rinsed it with cool water for a couple seconds a few times while I gave him a bath. Hoping it just goes away. One of the barn hands said it could be an insect bite too. Horses, smh
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As others said: vet time. Also, if he will let you, you may want to see if you can clean his sheath while it's swollen (see if anything in there is irritating him). Parasites can get into the sheath area (I know, super gross) and the irritation can cause swelling.
 

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We have the vet do this twice a year...our vet's recommendation. We don't do it oyrselves because Toby objects somewhat seriously!
I would get the vet out for this one. And while he/she is there examining the horse they can show you how to properly do this. But for right now it sounds like you need a vet call.
 

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My horse needs his cleaned every few months. It used to be once a year when he was younger. I have noticed a big change since he turned 18, older geldings may need more frequent cleaning.
I have heard gnats and flys can cause the swelling. Try fly spray if you think this could be it.
When my guys sheath was super swollen I cleaned it and waited but the swelling didn't go down so I cleaned it again a few days later and to my surprise there was a ton of crud I missed, and the 2nd cleaning was way more effective and the swelling was gone the next day. I did have to reach my entire arm all the way up in there though, but I got out whatever I had missed the first time that was irritating him. I used excalibur.
I know my guy is due soon too because when I pick out his feet it smells really bad down there. I have read that if they do not drop all the way it could be because of discomfort, though who knows if it is a social discomfort or a physical one.
 

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I have to agree the general consensus, get a vet out to check it out. You never know what it can be especially if he is not fully extending himself to urinate. He sounds like he is sore. We bought a 6 mo old percheron cross once and I noticed after we got him home he did not urinate properly. He did not swell down there but he was urinating from inside his sheath. Big problems. After a big vet bill he was operated on and fixed up but I would definitely get a vet out. Good Luck
 

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I once saw a tick climb in there, during a horse camp, filled with kids. So we got one of the guys to dig it out :lol:
In Hawaii she probably doesn't have to worry about ticks (they mostly stick to the wild boars and dogs), but I did help deal with a horse with a swollen sheath while I was still on the Big Island and he had (ew!) fly larvae/pupae/maggots in there. It was grotesque and happened overnight. One day normal, next day swollen and maggoty.
 
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